On Thursday, June 2, 2011, the Northern California World Trade Center hosted a luncheon in the ARC ballroom at University of California, Davis. from 11:00 am to 1:30pm. The event was sponsored by businesses as well as business assistance organizations such as Blue Diamond Growers, Los Rios Community College District, US Commercial Service and California Limosine. The objective was to discuss tips on surviving the current economic crisis through the use of successful export strategies and to provide a networking opportunity for business owners to interact with dignitaries from all over the world. There were about three hundred attendees including dignitaries and business owners.
The luncheon began with opening remarks given by Michael Faust, President and CEO of the Northern California World Trade Center. The Dean of UC Davis, spoke of the importance of outreach and what the school had done in the past to achieve their goal. Following, George Tastard, Director of Sacramento Export Assistance Center, presented the Export Achievement Award to Blue Diamond Growers. This company is the largest almond cooperative in the world and a long-time client of the Sacramento USEAC. This award recognizes the company’s success in exporting. Next, the keynote speaker, Charles Ahlem, former Undersecretary of California Department of Food and Agriculture, Owner/Operator of Charles Ahlem Ranch and Founding Partner of Hilmar Cheese Company discussed his experience in the dairy industry and his view on international trade and dairy subsidies. The luncheon also included a panel discussion with Bill Morecraft, general manager of Blue Diamond Growers, Larry Blagg, Senior Vice President of Export Marketing of California Raisin Marketing Board, and Tim Johnson, President & CEO of California Rice Commission.
As a sponsor, the US Commercial Service also had a booth at the entrance of the ARC ballroom where ITS Tony Hill, ITA Viktoria and ITA Jessica Lam had the opportunity to speak to participants about the services provided by the U.S. Commercial Service. Throughout the day, there were quite a few participants that were interested in learning about exporting opportunities.